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ARPN Journal of Science and Technology >> Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2017

ARPN Journal of Science and Technology

Towards a Psychology of Science, Scientific Knowledge, and Scientific Change, Mark I

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Author James Carifio, Rocco Perla
ISSN 2225-7217
On Pages 53-60
Volume No. 3
Issue No. 1
Issue Date February 01, 2013
Publishing Date February 01, 2013
Keywords Psychology of Science, Nature of Science, Nature of Scientific Change, Scientific Cognition, Scientific Decision-Making, Scientists as Learners, Integrating Disciplines.


This article attempts the ambitious, difficult, but necessary task of outlining in rough form a psychology of science. Although a small number of scholars and researchers are currently developing psychologically based accounts of science and scientific progress and change, these ideas are scattered across the science studies literature with no overarching framework, model, list of tenets, assumptions or postulates to systematically guide future work in this highly complex area of study. Under the key assumption that science is fundamentally a particular kind and type of cognitive (information processing) activity, this article (1) identifies 10 key propositions of a psychology of science and (2) highlights a standard information processing model that is capable of providing a conceptual system that can represent the wide range of epistemic, philosophic and sociological theses related to the nature of science and scientific knowledge. Although the ideas advanced in this article are in need of further synthesis, they open the door to numerous lines of inquiry related to a psychological approach to studying science and scientific decision-making as done by practicing scientists. At a minimum, this article highlights a number of important cognitive issues, concepts, questions and concerns that need to be addressed in any rigorous psychological study or account of the scientific enterprise. To ignore such cognitive issues today, based on the magnitude and quality of research in the cognitive sciences, is clearly both intellectually disingenuous and unscientific in spirit and impedes various kinds of scientific progress and acts of discovery, as well as practicing scientists being away of these dimensions of their work and decision-making. The implications of a psychological approach to studying the nature of science on science education and science literacy are also discussed.

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